Career Roadmap

20/20 Foresight is something that everyone loves to have. 20/20 hindsight is something that is much more achievable. Steve Jobs famous quote below highlights a useful point about uncertainties of the future and how to plan your journey forward in an unknowable future.  

 You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

For a invetment / personal finance blog that is crowded out by personalities seeking to pursue financial freedom and flaunt their CPF statements, the fact that a high capital base is required to achieve FF is grossly neglected. Much is discussed in the investment blogger space about ways to min/max spending and savings, but mere mortals still need to focus on increasing their reliable income through their career / side jobs to build a substantial capital base. 

A career roadmap for young adults is much neglected. Jeraldine Phneah provided refreshing and alternative views on how the job market is morphing. As a young adult with decades of working life ahead of him, her framework to chart out her do and donts in her career roadmap is immensely helpful. The FF dream to escape the mundane corporate life has its valid points, but it is far much easier to set realistic expectations on what you what to get out of your job / career

Must Haves
Good overall base package (reliable gold)

Room for promotion / progression and increment (unreliable gold). Certain industries payout based on macroeconomic conditions and company performance rather than bottom up contributions of individuals. 

If a career provides income streams with stable but low growth, establish a growth orientated portfolio. If a career provides lumpy but quite sizable income streams, focus on a income orientated portfolio. In the event you land a job with sizable base income and good growth prospects, hang on tight and enjoy the ride. 

Good managers that are willing to guide and provide opportunities to perform.

Managers that do not unreasonably overwrite your views and willing to consider alternatives.

Good managers that will protect their team when there are problems, take steps to solve the root causes, and not play the blame game. 

Transparent communications, helpful teammates, positive attitude and culture

Sufficient opportunities to make visible contributions that can build up a portfolio of skills / products, which is the true conorstone of job security. It is far more important to be the visible baker that bakes the bread and brings in the dough, rather than the annoymous cleaner that cleans the oven. 

Good to haves
Flexibility / Work life balance

Reasonable commute time (within 1 hour)

Reasonable growth industry and company that will translate to increment. If the company is unwilling and unable to paywell, there must be opportunities to pick up skills / sufficient work life balance to pursue Alternative income streams 

Reasonable job security / stability that allows you to pick up useful skills to survive the industry changes. 

Deal breakers
Toxic incompetent bosses / colleagues that talk behind your back, steal credit for your contributions. 

Guaranteed dead end jobs in a industry going extinct. Jobs that push paper instead of creating opportunities to improve your skillsets. 

Careers that condemns you to be the cleaner rather than the baker 

Bosses that are fast to condemn and criticize rather than to stay open minded and encourage. 

Been through a number of contractor / part time stints in government organizations, SMEs, MNCs and banks, I am well aware that my knowledge of career progression is scarce, especially if the manager / company is not keen in your actual career development. Winning the trust of the boss takes time, and your appointed boss needs to be a high flyer that can bring you up. My current workplace has quite commendable personalities whom are willing and able to teach and provide opportuniites, and are highly likely to be revenue generators rather than cost cutters. 

I will not know where the future will lead, but I should know where I stand. With a more positve and favourable work environment, my investment research interest shall remain as a side hobby for the time being while I focus my efforts on my main job. 

Professional skillsets to exceed your KPIs, professional networks to open doors, and professional certs are a must to further your growth ambitions in your company and industry. I will be strive to better manage them for the next 5 years ahead. 


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